I am no gardener. I live in Anchorage, Alaska where 7 months out of the year, our backyard is covered in at least a foot of snow. In the winter season, the days get long, cold and dark. Growing anything seems like a daunting task. As the days get longer and the weather dips down into single digits, it feels almost impossible to get warm.
We often reserve the word “bloom” for the season of spring. When I lived in Japan, I knew spring was coming when I saw blooms on the Sakura trees. One of my absolute favorite memories was experiencing Hanami, the custom of cherry blossom viewing. Sitting under the trees, cuddled up on a picnic blanket, my friends and I would embrace the sweetness that spring would soon bring.
Spring is also typically a time when people clean out their spaces and places. Communities start gardens, schools prepare their end of the year talent shows, and travelers hop on planes to explore the world. A lovely season, isn’t it? I’ve experienced quite a different kind of spring here in Alaska. It’s very short and sometimes non-existant. In April, the land is usually still covered in muddy snow and we start to experience the “break up” season. It feels like we’ll never get to see the color green.
In a physical sense, Alaskans can’t start their gardens until the birch trees have leaves the size of squirrel ears. Personally, it’s around this time that I feel weary & yearning for any kind of warmth. I’ve endured the long season of winter, awaiting for that bloom in my heart. What gives me hope when I read the Bible is that we don’t have to wait for springtime to come. God uses the seasons of fall, winter and summer to show us and grow us. Growth isn’t dependent on just one season.
We might not always feel like blooming, but God’s nature and character allow us to grow our hearts, minds and spirit in any season.